"I just don't know about those things," said bluejacket.
It didn't take Hogan long to lash out at two things that have changed since he last played the tour—hair and dress. The minute he saw George Knudson, Hogan took him aside in the locker room and told him he should get a haircut. "Now you can tell me to go to hell, George," Hogan was heard to say, but Knudson, as is his style, just stood there smiling coolly, as if remembering a funny story he'd heard somewhere. Asked later to comment on the youngsters, Hogan hammered away again: "Some of them seem off balance when they swing," he said. "Too much hair."
If hair upset him, the modish dress of the young players made him truly angry. After Friday's round he was sipping a beer when Tom Shaw strolled by wearing red, white and blue bell-bottoms. "Now look at that," said Hogan, his jaw tense. "These boys don't realize that the men who put up the money for these tournaments are distinguished and influential gentlemen. Sooner or later they're going to get sick of seeing players dressed that way. It's preposterous."
So wouldn't you know it? Luck of the draw, Ron Cerrudo's name comes up as one of Hogan's playing partners for the first two days. Long-haired (by golf's tight standards), bell-bottomed Ronnie Cerrudo, a swinger. "I'm going to dig out all my blacks and grays," said Cerrudo when he heard the news.
But Cerrudo found out that perhaps Hogan growls more than he bites. "He was great to me," said Ron. "He came over on the putting green and introduced himself, and that put me at ease."
Cerrudo also got something every young player on the tour would love to have—a two-day golf lesson. Not that Hogan ever commented on the young man's shots. All Cerrudo had to do was watch. Hogan, bad knee and all, still swings at a golf ball in a wonderfully fluid motion. It's a curious contrast—an old man, puffing away on his cigarette, limping up to the ball, then tossing the cigarette down and swinging like someone 30 years younger. And then having trouble bending down to pick up the cigarette.
Alas, the putting stroke is old and tired and nervous, although Hogan no longer freezes over the ball as he once did. His putting at Houston was surprisingly effective, but it still is very much the weakest part of his repertoire. It is a jerky, ugly stroke, out of harmony with the rest of his game. As someone at Champions pointed out, if Hogan could putt, the other pros might as well go home. But then no one is perfect, not even Ben Hogan. It is enough just to have seen him play.